Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Would you buy a $70 concealer? (Review of Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Beige)

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Beige

A couple months ago, Clé de Peau Beauté offered a free sample online of their cult favorite concealer, which came with a very nice brush. Look at that translucent indigo handle! (If you prefer to look at the untouched, unsmudged sample, here it is on my Instagram.) It's a very nice freebie. I don't think I ever managed to post this offer on my blog here, because it went out of stock very quickly.

But the fun thing is that it gives me a chance to review something I would never, ever have purchased--a stick concealer that sells for $70. Two caveats to my review here: first, the shade they sent is the second lightest in the very limited range, Beige (see all the shades swatched here), and it's a bit too dark for me, as you can see in my swatches below; and second, since this is a sample, I obviously can't comment on the packaging or anything like that.

Here are comparison swatches with some other concealers I had on hand. From left to right, we have Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Beige, Sephora Collection Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer in Fondant, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, and LA Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer in Classic Ivory (reviews of those last two forthcoming!).

Swatches of Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Beige, Sephora Collection Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer in Fondant, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, and LA Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer in Classic Ivory

Nevertheless, I don't consider these two things (shade, packaging) to be major impediments to a decent review, because slightly darker, peachy shades of concealer work pretty well under my eyes, at least if I'm going for a natural look. If I pick a pale shade that matches the edges of my face and use it to completely blank out my under-eye area, it creates a more polished and slightly artificial look. (Almost?) no one has bright, completely shadow-free skin below their eyes. That's good for photos but sometimes a bit more than what I want for normal everyday makeup. Also, I don't really give a fuck about the packaging. Sure, if the packaging were terrible I would be annoyed at paying $70 for it, but if the packaging were amazing and the product itself shitty, that would be much worse. I really only care about the concealer itself. And people have indeed suggested that, okay maybe this stuff is super expensive but it's totally worth it. JUST TRY IT YOU'LL SEE.

Is it? Here are my results, left side with no makeup (except filled-in brows) and right side with just Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Beige. You can see that the color, which looked much too dark on my arm, blends in pretty well on my face.

Slightly cross-eyed from staring into the sun while taking this photo.
I'd read tips saying that the best way to apply solid concealers like this one is to apply them to the back of your hand so that your body heat can warm them up a little and then spread them from there to your face with fingers or a brush. That does, indeed, seem to work best. Otherwise it's a bit stiff. The texture is nice and skin-like. It is quite pigmented, so that you can get good coverage with only a small amount of product. That said, if I want completely opaque coverage, I do have to layer it a little, and that tends not to work great. The problem with this stuff is that it creases, and the more I use, the more it creases. I haven't been able to do anything to prevent that (moisturizing or not, using different application techniques, primer, etc.), and it's one of my biggest annoyances with concealer. Most products crease on me, but if I had paid $70 for it, I would really not be impressed. Here is a photo of it about 20 minutes after application, after it had creased once and I had patted it down to smooth out the creasing and added some powder. It creased again. It continues to do that throughout the day, and the texture and opacity become less flawless.

So in the end, it's a good concealer in terms of coverage and texture. Since I only need to use a very small amount, one stick would probably last me years. But since it creases, I would never consider spending $70 on it--or even half that. My Sephora serum concealer (reviewed here) is still my favorite. It's slightly creasy, but it can be built up to increase the opacity without any problems, and the creasing tends not to recur after I smooth it out during the first half hour or so of wear.

Anyone have a different experience with that stuff? What's your upper spending limit for experimenting with products that have cult reputations like this stuff?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Here is what is happening to the Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
Refinery 29 has a post all about the newly formulated and repacked lipsticks from Urban Decay, including 74 new shades in 6 finishes. They will launch in June. If you didn't like the flat/round shape of the Revolution lipsticks, you might like the more traditional bullets in the new ones. They will also be slightly cheaper, at $17 each rather than $22.

If you were a big fan of the Revolution formula and are worried about the change, most shades are still available for 50% off ($11) on the Ulta website (regular, matte, and sheer). They seem to be all or mostly sold out from Sephora and Urban Decay's site. Ulta also has free shipping with a $35 purchase right now (no code), which makes it less painful to order form them. Plus there are three free minis that you can add to your order (via Nouveau Cheap): a Dr. Brandt mask, a BareMinerals mascara, and a Redken hair "cleanser." Just add them to your cart with the purchase of something else and they will be free.

ETA: Macy's has an even larger selection still in stock, if there's something you want that's missing from Ulta.

I had made up my mind that I didn't need any new lipsticks, but now that I know for sure these are going away, I am tempted again. I was thinking about Rapture, 69, and After Dark. Anyone have any opinions about those shades? Or others that are worthwhile?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

MAC says their VIBE TRIBE collection has "absolutely no connection to nor was it inspired by the Native American cultures"

It's just inspired by music festivals.

I mean, a collection inspired by native art in collaboration with native artists and models and/or with some proceeds going toward an appropriate cause could be cool. But don't treat your customers like they're idiots. It has fucking "tribe" right there in the name. There's a product called "Arrowhead." Come on.

Friday, April 29, 2016

What's in a dupe? Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry vs. Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Touch of Spice

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry vs. Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Touch of Spice

During last fall and early this winter, I kept reading recommendations for Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry from reliable sources and seeing Instagram posts of people wearing it and looking stunning. I became convinced that I needed it, despite my previously less-than-stellar experiences with two of the lipsticks in that line: Elusive (reviewed here) and Striking (reviewed here). Surely if so many sensible people liked Sultry, there must be something to it. And indeed, the performance of Sultry is vastly better than the other two matte balms, both in terms of application (not streaky) and wear (not patchy).

But when I got it home and put it on, something seemed eerily familiar. Oh shit, I bought a dupe! Why did I want this when I already had the very similar Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Touch of Spice? You can see from the swatches below that they are quite close.

Swatch Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry vs. Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Touch of Spice

They're not identical, but they fit into the same basic category. Touch of Spice (left) is a more brown/neutral with a little grey, while Sultry has some more plummy-red in it.

On my face, the difference is subtle, but one lipstick is noticeably more flattering on me than the other. The second time I wore Sultry, I had also been playing around with some subtle contouring. When I looked at my face in the bathroom mirror, it looked kind of dirty, and I thought I had messed up the contouring. But then I got to thinking about how similar my new lipstick was to Touch of Spice and decided to remove Sultry and replace it with the Maybelline lipstick to compare. All of the sudden, my contouring looked fine. I looked healthier. As it turns out, the subtle difference in the two lipsticks makes a real difference when I wear them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Quick addendum to L'Oreal Miss Manga review

When I wrote my original review of this mascara, I had been testing it for 2-3 weeks. I noted that I hadn't had the problems with flaking that I'd had in the past with other L'Oreal mascaras. By the time it had been open for a couple of months, however, and got a bit drier, it became flaky as fuck. It's a mess now. So be warned: if you typically don't get along well with L'Oreal's mascara formulas, this one may not be any exception.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sales and things (Urban Decay lipstick 50% off, Real Techniques brushes 20% off, NYX, Tarte, Palmers, etc.)

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
As always, I have a big backlog of things I'd like to write about and little time to do it. Boohoo. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I got married this past weekend. It was lovely, but even though it was a very small and very simple wedding, planning it still took over my entire fucking life. I did my own makeup, so I'll write a post about that once I get some photos back. It was fun. Now I have to get back to all the other things I neglected while I was preoccupied with that.

One of those things is buying basics that I've run out of, like body wash. I also decided to replace the Smith's Rosebud Salve that I recently finished, since it seems to work better than anything else to prevent red, flaky nostrils (you're welcome for that image!). One of the cheapest places I've found it is where it's under $6. But of course you have to spend $35 to get free shipping, and so I have been browsing the site for other things that I actually need, so that I don't pad my cart with superfluous shit just to save $2-3 on that salve.

In the meantime, I have found some things that I don't need, but maybe you do? I hate to see a good deal go to waste. For example:

Other current deals not from
Anything else good out there today? I'll post something more substantive (with photos!) soon. Probably.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Sephora Play! subscription now available to . . . more people? Everyone?

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
I've seen a bunch of people mentioning that this subscription has finally "opened up," but it's not clear to me if it's available for everyone now or still just limited regions, but more of them. It has been gradually expanding for a while. I entered my email address at this link and got a message saying there were no spots left, but then I almost immediately got an email inviting me to subscribe. So if you've been waiting, it's worth a shot. Please let me know if it works.

I've been reading reviews of Play! for several months and it really looks like one of the better options available for $10/month--generally more interesting products and better sizes than Birchbox or Ipsy. Here is April's box (though I think if you sign up now you start with May), and here is a preview of May (not much info there yet). I'm not going to sign up just now, though, because I just bought a subscription to Choix (which I will review after I have got received two boxes and have more to say about it).

Monday, April 11, 2016

Foundation dealbreakers: Review of L'Oreal True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup in W1-2 (Porcelain Ivory)

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
Review of L'Oreal True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup in W1-2 (Porcelain Ivory)

I know that the idea of a perfect foundation, one that blends invisibly and makes you look like you have naturally perfect skin with no makeup on it, is a fantasy. I get it. If you want full coverage or matte foundation, it's probably going to look you're wearing makeup. If you want a more natural finish, it's not going to cover everything 100%. And so forth. But I used to think that I could forgive almost anything for a natural-looking texture, and it turns out that that's not true. L'Oreal True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup does have a texture that pretty much disappears on the skin, at least when it's first applied, but there were a number of other issues for me that ended up being dealbreakers.

Swatches of: (1) L'Oreal True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup in W1-2 (Porcelain Ivory); (2) TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer in Lighter than Light; (3) Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation in Porcelain; and (4) Sephora Collection Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer in Fondant

Swatches above are: (1) L'Oreal True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup in W1-2 (Porcelain Ivory); (2) TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer in Lighter than Light; (3) Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation in Porcelain (reviewed here); and (4) Sephora Collection Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer in Fondant (reviewed here).

The first problem was completely my fault. I bought the wrong shade. I swatched this foundation at a Shopper's Drug Mart in Canada almost a year ago, and W1-2 (Porcelain Ivory) looked like a perfect match, even though I am more neutral than warm (W="warm"). How, I'm not sure, since it certainly doesn't look very close in the photo above. I sent an email to myself telling me to buy this shade! There is, in fact N1-2 (Soft Ivory/Classic Ivory) in the line, but in the store it looked too dark, so I went with W1-2. W1-2 is peachy color--too peachy for me, as it turns out, though it's not a terrible match. Here is an awkward photo I took of the edge of my face to try to see how far off it was. You can use this to get a sense of the coverage and texture as well.

If you look at my jawline where I've tried to blend it on to my neck, you can probably see that it's not quite right. The best thing about this foundation is that it's very natural looking, which I think helps disguise the color mismatch to a certain extent. You can hardly see that there is anything on my skin, with one exception: it settles into fine lines, like the ones on either side of my nose and mouth, immediately after application. It doesn't settle into pores, fortunately, and the problem with the lines can be helped to some degree with powder.

The coverage is light-medium, though it can be built up a bit. You may be able to tell from the above photo that my moles and freckles are still visible but redness is evened out.

This foundation feels light on the skin, not like you're coated in something heavy, but to the touch it's like a moisturizer that hasn't absorbed completely. And won't absorb, ever. I'm not sure if that type of formula would be appealing even to people with very dry skin, though I certainly wouldn't recommend it for anyone else. My hair stuck to the sides of my face, even after powdering. It was very unpleasant. Even though it feels sticky, it doesn't transfer much, at least.

Already I wasn't very happy with the sticky sensation, but then the oil in my skin broke the foundation down very quickly. In a couple of hours of wearing this stuff, I'm shinier than I would be if I wore no makeup at all (again, even when I set it with powder). In 4-5 hours, it starts seriously fading in some areas (nose, cheeks) and getting cakey in other areas (chin, forehead). It even interferes with the wear time of my concealer somehow, so that my favorite Sephora concealer gets cakey, which usually doesn't happen. Dealbreaker.

I understand that "dewy" and "luminous" foundations are usually targeted toward dry skin, and matte ones are usually meant for oilier skin. I get that it has to do with how the formulas function. But I still don't like it. I prefer a more luminous, or at least satiny, look, and I have oily-combination skin. It's tricky--and the fact that I don't wear foundation every day only make me pickier, I think, because if I'm going to go to all the trouble of applying it, I want to really like it.

I returned this stuff and bought myself a new bottle of an old favorite foundation: Boots No7 Lift & Luminate Foundation in Cool Vanilla. It's not a perfect fantasy foundation either, because the lightest shade is too dark for me (swatched here). But I can easily fix that with a little white mixer (I use the one from Lord & Berry), and it fulfills all my other requirements about natural finish, neutral tone (not cool, despite the name), and decent wear time. I'll write a full review of it some time in the near future.

How about you? What are your foundation demands and dealbreakers? I'm also curious if you've tried this particular foundation and if it works significantly better for skin types different from mine.
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